The-Dream - Genesis Album Review

Story posted October 4, 2017 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Sam McQuillan

In 2016, Terius Youngdell Nash released what was afforded as the first experimental point in the North Carolina singer/songwriter/producer’s career as The-Dream. His project, Genesis, a 42-minute short film featuring 10 new songs was released exclusively on TIDAL. Fast-forward to Sept. 29, 2017 and users of rival streaming services, Spotify and Apple Music, can finally listen to music from the film. The album, also named Genesis, most shows The-Dream’s first real significant effort to diversify himself as an artist.

What listeners get is an impassioned 39 minutes of hypnotic 808 drums and R&B which centers on the strenuous relationship between him and a lover. The album’s production provides for an emotional Elysium of love, sex and dreams for the Radio Killa Records founder to exclaim essentially the seven stages of a bad breakup. Likely influenced by his past affiliation with Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music label, The-Dream’s new sound gives listeners a tease at the artist’s aspirations to turn a knack for R&B hook songwriting into something more. The sound he ends up with is faintly reminiscent of what The Weeknd accomplished on Trilogy.

The album opens up with a boisterous overture, giving listeners a preview of the approaching journey they’re about to go on. Skipping no beats, the album transitions right into “Heir Jordan,” one of the projects stand alone tracks. In “Heir Jordan,” The-Dream espouses the antics of the bad boy life style that’s come along with his newfound success and status as a celebrity. This is an emotional highpoint for the album. While however lacking in profoundness, lyrics like “I got a Basquiat hanging in my kitchen” and “I can do a hundred-yard dash in my living room” show the songwriter’s desire to mature into more than just a nice voice to be borrowed by another rapper for a chorus feature. Considering that he first got his foot into the music industry writing and producing for the likes of Rhianna and Jamie Foxx, it’s no surprise that those standout on Genesis as some of the projects most prominent aspects.

As the album cascades from cockiness to betrayal and pain, the songs are presented in a diverse style from very early on. As The-Dream goes through the bipolar odyssey of heartbreak, he rides his brief wave of vulnerability right into the album’s most anticipated track “Virtuous.” In the album’s only collaboration, Wiz Khalifa grabs a verse to remind the Weeknd of how disposable women are to stars of their status. It’s on this track, with blaring sirens, a whole lot of reverb and slow-mo effects that The-Dream comes closest to accomplishing what he set out to do with the experimental project. As the album goes on, it continues to trend in and out between emotional R&B ballads and otherworldly sounding trap beats. The result is a latter half that features some real quality flashes of production, specifically in the buildups, but will leave listeners feeling parched for a conclusion to match the precocious introduction.

As Genesis ushers in a new chapter in his music career, with it The-Dream ushers in a new sound. Often deviating from what got him to this point in his career, the R&B/hip hop artist uses his new project to showcase his diversity and ability to make a drum heavy-trap beat his own without the help of a more versed rapper. His new sound will enthrall fans of acts such as Travis Scott and The Weeknd. Genesis is good. It’s probably The-Dream’s best solo project at this point in his career, but for all its quality production, it leaves something lacking at too many points. The incredibly well put together beat drops and buildups seldom reach a sustained climax.

Rating 6/10

 

Sam McQuillan is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email samuelrmcquillan@gmail.com